Home' Greymouth Star : December 20th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Saturday, December 20, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1192 - Richard I, the Lion-heart, king of
England, is captured in Vienna.
1560 - First General Assembly of the Church
of Scotland takes place.
1582 - Gregorian calendar is adopted in
1803 - The Louisiana Purchase
is completed as France formally
transfers ownership of the
territory to the United States
during ceremonies in New
1820 - State of Missouri imposes
a bachelor tax of $US1 a year on
unmarried men between the ages of 21 and 50.
1879 - Thomas Edison privately demonstrates
his incandescent light at Menlo Park, New
1960 - The Viet Cong, the armed wing of the
National Liberation Front, is founded in South
1963 - Berlin Wall is opened for the first
time to West Berliners, who are allowed
one-day visits to relatives in East.
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Sir Robert Gordon Menzies, Australian
statesman (1894-1978); Irene D unne, US
actress (1898-1990); Bill O’Reilly, Australian
cricketer (1905-1992); W Eugene
Smith, US photojournalist (1918-
1978); Mahathir Mohamad,
former Malaysian prime minister
(1925-); Ray Martin, Australian
tv personality (1944-); Peter
Criss, US rock musician (Kiss)
(1945-); Uri Geller, Israeli
psychic (1946-); Billy Bragg, British rock
singer (1957-); Chris Robinson, US rock
singer (The Black Crowes) (1966-); Jonah
Hill, US actor and comedian (1983-); Jo Jo,
American singer (1990-) .
“ You can keep the things of bronze and stone
and give me one man to remember me just
once a year.” — Damon Runyan, American
“Do not merely listen to the word, and so
deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
— James 1:22.
expected to be severe
when the province’s
most attractive young
women step on the stage to decide which is
entitled to top ranking. Among the six entries
received so far for the 1965 Miss West Coast
contest are three former winners. The panel of
three judges face a difficult task on January 19.
Sharon Madden, Noelene East, Jacqueline
Mundy, Cynthia Ryder, Larri-Anne Heath
and Bernadette Seal are the entries to hand so
far. Miss Madden has twice won this contest
in 1961 and 62. The following year Miss East
captured the honours, while fair-haired Miss
Mundy is now the reigning queen, winning last
As heavy as the Barber which occasionally
envelops Cobden in the early hours of the
winter months, is the mystery which surrounds
the birthday of the riverside suburb. The
Westland centennial date chart sates that
Cobden was established on December 27,1864,
but West Coast historian Philip Ross May
Mr May said that the critical events which
led to the founding and naming of Cobden
took place in July-August 1865. In July 1865
the big Grey Valley goldrush set in and as
the Grey Valley diggings were in the Nelson
territory, the Nelson Provincial authorities had
to provide a goldfield administration centre.
Cobden was selected, a new sur vey made and
the town given its present name.
Today it appears that Cobden’s centenary
is destined to pass without the wave of a flag
or a moment of revelation. The mystery of its
birthdate will impede all celebrations.
uFood for thought
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t’s the size and scale, as much as
the detail, which is breathtaking
at Helena Bay — estimated
to have cost more than
$50 million to build.
The volume of intricate Italian
marble is awesome, the number
and size of gas-ignited marble-faced wood
fireplaces is intriguing, the sophistication
of the industrial kitchen appliances is
unusual and the length and alluring mosaic
finish on the 25m courtyard pool is jaw-
But it’s as much about what you don’t see
as what you do.
A vast 3000 square metres of floor space
— a third of a hectare — has been built, as
well as terraces, spread across four houses
and three levels, not counting a four-
bedroom hilltop guest residence 1km from
the main enclave.
But in a modern take on Upstairs,
Downstairs or Downton Abbey, a mini-
city under the main residence has rooms
within rooms, ser vices on a par with any
commercial venture, hidden corridors
running the length of the main swimming
pool, metres of ducting, pipes and
underground corridors ensuring the main
residence’s comfort levels of air handling,
fire safety, IT, kitchen ser vices, heating and
cooling are top-notch.
This is no simple house: for a start, one
tower crane and a crawler crane worked
alongside each other for years. Some
construction crew have been on-site for
five years, many members of local iwi Ngati
Wai worked on the property and seven
people started and completed their trade
apprenticeships on this job alone.
At about 2500 square metres, the main
u-shaped lodge of Russian steel billionaire
Alexander Abramov is 10 times the size of
the average new New Zealand house, but
the entire subterranean floor has ser vices so
sophisticated that they make your average
commercial building look positively
Visitors can helicopter on to the property
but those who drive to this “bach” fit
for a tsar will enter the gateway faced in
Portland’s Paradise Stone before travelling
the many kilometres of winding internal
roadways flanked by flowering flax, blazing
pohutukawa and renga renga.
The overall effect is of lushness, passing
streams, valleys, waterfalls and new lakes
where endangered species including the
pateke (brown teal) duck and kiwi are to
breed, past new timber rail fences, pine
forests, hills of cabbage trees and ferns and
extensive stands of native bush.
Extensive predator control measures,
including trapping and poisoning possums,
weasels and stoats, have nurtured natives
like pohutukawa and 240,000 new plants
are now on this private 214ha estate. Stock
fencing prevents animals getting near
Around a bend at the foot of the valley as
the ocean looms up, two low bitumen roof
tile structures appear: a mini power station
with a grunty 600KVA diesel generator
housed in its soundproof building, able to
supply the property indefinitely during a
power cut, and a construction site office,
to become a gatehouse or reception
welcoming area in the next few months.
Then, four grand structures become
visible: the main lodge or principal
residence and the villas perched above, all
on the ocean front, colonial-style structures
in neutral palettes topped with grey asphalt
roof tiles. A porte cochere entranceway
protects guests and marks the end of the
drive from Auckland to the property, off
The property has been developed by
Helena Bay Holdings managing director
Christopher Seel, who said it would open
next summer. “ The jewel in the crown is
the amount of detail and it’s the choice
of the owner,” said Mr Seel, an engineer
and banker of Coatesville. Originally from
Pukekohe, he worked in Moscow for many
years where he was linked to Mr Abramov,
whose international steel business Evraz
employs 110,000 people.
What has never been revealed until now
is that Helena Bay is to be run as a luxury
resort, along the same lines as Northland’s
Kauri Cliffs, the Wairarapa’s Wharekauhau
and Glenorchy’s Blanket Bay.
“ We look for ward to joining the
well-established and highly awarded
luxury lodge sector and we hope to offer
a unique experience, not commonly
provided or seldom found in a single
lodge, spanning beach, farming, fishing,
ecology, environmental, historical and
archaeological elements,” Mr Seel said. “It’s
also Helena Bay’s proximity to Auckland
which gives it that unique
Mr Seel could not comment on an
estimated $50m price tag but the expanse
of the property and the quality of the finish
are thought to put it in that bracket.
$50m+ of new residential buildings.
Own mini power station.
Vast upstairs/downstairs kitchen areas
Main four-bedroom 2500 square
metre waterfront residence.
Three separate luxury waterfront villas
of about 500 square metres.
Two villas can be divided into four
Opening 2015-16 as top-end luxury
lodge. — New Zealand Herald
Saint Nicholas (also known as Santa
Claus, Kris Kringle or Father Christmas)
has had to put up with a lot over the years.
After the latest blow, he may not show up
at all next week.
First they decided that he had to reside
at the North Pole, where the temperature
often falls to 50 degrees below zero and
there are several months of complete
darkness each year just when the workload
peaks. The south coast of what is now
Turkey, where St Nic originally lived and
worked, was much nicer.
Then in a series of ads in the 1930s the
Coca-Cola Company crystallised his
image as a fat old man wearing clothes
that are frankly a fashion disaster. And
now, as a final indignity, they are trying to
make him a Danish citizen.
On Monday, Denmark submitted
documents claiming the North Pole
as Danish territory (since the Danish
kingdom includes Greenland). It was a
“ historic and important milestone” for
Denmark, said Foreign Minister Martin
Lidegaard. It was also provocative and
pointless, but he forgot to mention that.
The Danish government does not
actually want or need the North Pole,
and does not imagine that it would derive
any practical benefit from ‘owning ’ it. It
is just responding to the equally baseless
Canadian declaration last December that
the North Pole is sovereign Canadian
territory, or at least that the seabed 4000m
beneath it is.
The way that claim came about is quite
instructive. Canada has a huge archipelago
of Arctic islands, and for years Canadian
government scientists have been gathering
evidence to support a Canadian claim to
exclusive economic rights over the seabed
of the Arctic Ocean adjacent to those
islands. All five countries that border the
Arctic Ocean have been preparing similar
claims to the seabed off their own coasts.
Until last December, Canada made no
claim to the North Pole. It was only days
before the country was due to submit
its final claim to the United Nations
Commission on the Limits of the
Continental Shelf that Prime Minister
Stephen Harper’s government finally
The claim wasn’t in the original
submission because Canada has no
real case in international law. Even if
the Commission ends up accepting
the contention by Russia, Canada and
Denmark (on behalf of its Greenland
territory) that the underwater Lomonosov
Ridge extends their respective bits of the
continental shelf into the central Arctic
Ocean, the principle of ‘equidistance’
would give the North Pole itself to the
Danes or the Russians.
For the past nine years Prime Minister
Harper has travelled to the Canadian
Arctic every summer to give the Canadian
media a ‘photo op’. He promises new
ice-breakers and an Arctic naval base,
he stands on a submarine as fighters
fly overhead, he sits in the cockpit of
a Canadian F-18, he shoots a rifle in
a military exercise — every year a new
image of him personally defending
Canadian sovereignty from some
There is no threat to Canadian territory,
of course, and even in terms of seabed
rights Canada’s only serious dispute is
with the United States (over a bit of
seabed north of the Yukon-Alaska border
in the Beaufort Sea). But Harper’s pose as
the staunch defender of Canadian ‘rights’
ser ves his conser vative, nationalist agenda
and plays well with the Canadian media.
So when Harper’s minions belatedly
realised that the government ’s scientists
and civil ser vants had not included the
North Pole in Canada’s claim to the
Commission, Harper slammed the brakes
on and demanded that they rewrite it. He
will have been told by the experts that
Canada has no legal case — but he also
knows that by the time that becomes clear
to the public, many years from now, he
will no longer be in office.
Canada didn’t submit its final claim last
December after all. The poor boffins in
Ottawa are struggling to reformulate it
to include the North Pole, while Harper
trumpets his determination to protect
Canadian “rights”. And the Danes, who
were previously willing to let sleeping
dogs lie, have now responded by making
their own rather more plausible claim.
The Russians may be next. President
Vladimir Putin also likes to be
photographed in the Arctic, surrounded
by military kit and bravely defending
Russian sovereignty. It’s getting ridiculous
— but might it also be getting out of
Probably not. There has been much loose
talk about allegedly huge reser ves of oil
and gas under the Arctic seabed, but not
much actual drilling is likely to happen in
the challenging conditions of the Arctic
Ocean when the oil price is below $80
per barrel. (It ’s currently in the mid-$50s,
and will probably be down there for a long
time.) There’s really nothing else up there
that ’s worth fighting over.
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
A few days before Christmas two
young brothers spent the night at their
When it was time to go to bed, they
knelt down to say their prayers. Suddenly
the younger one began to speak in a
very loud voice, “Dear Lord, please ask
Santa to bring me a Playstation or a
His older brother leaned over and said,
“ Why are you shouting your prayers?
God isn’t deaf. I know,’’ he replied, ‘‘ but
On occasions it seems that Christmas
time degenerates into a ‘what I want for
Christmas’ scenario in many homes. But
what gift do we have for our Birthday
Boy? Is Jesus on our Christmas list and
do we have a special gift for him?
We all know the pleasure of finding the
right present for our husband or wife, for
our children, or a special friend. So what
can we give to Christ this year?
The Christ of Christmas Himself was a
generous giver. When Jesus was on earth
He spent His time healing the sick, and
spreading the good news of God ’s love to
everyone, especially the lost and lonely.
Ultimately He gave His life to save all
people of the world. God sent Jesus from
heaven to earth to give us human beings
what we really need most in life: hearts
filled with love. This is the gift. Jesus
expects from us — and what you and I
need from God this Christmas.
We have tons of wants. We are like
children with a gift catalogue before
Christmas, circling all our wants by the
God simply wants to give each of us a
heart full of love, mercy, compassion and
forgiveness on the Christmas and every
day of our lives.
May your Christmas be especially
blessed as you reach out to others with
Fr Peter Costello
Catholic Parish of Greymouth
All I want for Christmas
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
The Danish Santa
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
A bad date is not easily forgotten.
But although it is a downer at the time, a terrible
date can provide all means of fodder to laugh about
and cringe at with friends — or share on social media.
The hashtag #WorstDateIn5Words is trending on
Here is a sample of some tongue in cheek tweets:
“ Hi! I’m Tony Abbott ’s sister
“Then I divorced Vladimir Putin...
“ Taking pictures of our dinner
“ Don’t wake up my mother #WorstDateIn5Words,”
“ I’ve bought the Soduku books
“ Who is your favourite Kardashian?
“ We’re only cousins. It ’s fine.
“ I’m live tweeting our date #WorstDateIn5Words,”
“ You didn’t want dessert, right?
“ I didn’t like Breaking Bad. #WorstDateIn5Words,”
“ Meet my thirty seven cats #WorstDateIn5Words,
“The waiter is my ex #WorstDateIn5Words,” @
Deathbymartymar — AAP
The worst dates in the world, according to Twitter
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